Oregon Ducks

Gonzaga inspired by former UO player Greg Bell's book: "Water the Bamboo"

Gonzaga inspired by former UO player Greg Bell's book: "Water the Bamboo"

GLENDALE, Ariz. - On any given day, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will remind his team to always strive to get at least one percent better each day. To, "water the bamboo."

It's a reference to a motivational book called "Water the Bamboo," written by Few's good friend and former college roommate at Oregon, Greg Bell, who played guard for the Ducks basketball team from 1981-1985. 

"Basically the whole premise and the thought and the major point behind it is bamboo, when you plant it, you water it and water it -- and I'm going to kill this -- but for four years or something, nothing happens," Few said Thursday during a press conference at the University of Phoenix Stadium, site of the Final Four. "But then in the first year it grows -- after that, that subsequent year -- then it grows 50 feet or something...So it's about, you know, the process of preparation and physically, mentally showing up, doing your job with practice and focusing in on the things that you can control. We call that the process. And then eventually you're going to reap the rewards of that."

Close enough. The overriding principle is to pay attention to the little things, focus on the details and allow oneself to flourish overtime in any aspect of life, professionally or personally. Bell, a motivational speaker who specializes in individual growth and team building, published his book in 2009.  

Bell, who holds political science and law degrees from the Oregon and has appeared on CSN's Ducks Hoops Tonight, said he often has dinner with Few when he and Gonzaga are in Portland to face the Portland Pilots. They did the same prior to the Bulldogs' 83-64 win at Portland on Jan. 23. But this time, Few had the wild idea.

"Typically we go grab Thai food with Mark the day before the U of P game," Bell said. "Rarely do we talk hoops, just family and kids. But this year after dinner he asked that I say a few words to the team. I happened to have some "Water the Bamboo" wristbands in my car and I talked to them after their film session."

Bell said his message is more about the watering (the process) than the bamboo (the result). 

"It's about showing up everyday," Bell said. "Focus on the watering and the results will take care of itself."

The players loved the message Bell delivered.

"You’ve got to take it one day at a time and get better everyday," redshirt sophomore guard Josh Perkins said when asked about Bell's speech to the team. "Small opportunities, I think people overlook. I think that concept helps you make the best of every situation and improve in every way. Because if you get one percent better everyday, you get better.”

Junior guard Silas Melson, out of Portland's Jefferson High School, said Gonzaga players constantly remind one another to "water the bamboo." Some even tweet motivational notes using #WaterTheBamboo 

"Throughout the whole season it might take a long time to reach your peak as a team but by March you want to meet your peak and that’s why we keep watering that bamboo," Melson said.

Now Gonzaga (36-1) is in its first ever Final Four where it faces South Carolina (26-10) on Saturday. 

So, has "water the bamboo" worked for Gonzaga?

"I just want to tell everybody, I give 100 percent to "Water the Bamboo" and the book and the approach," Few said with a laugh while plugging the book for his friend. "It's a life changer."

Hyperbole aside, Few, named AP Coach of the Year, said he believes his team certainly benefited from Bell's talk. 

"Look, to have Greg, I mean, he was in my wedding, one of my closest friends, to be able to come talk to our team in Portland and give us the book and give us the little bracelets and all that was great," Few said. "And I think it resonated with them. The thing he said that I wholeheartedly believe that we kind of used as a mantra this year was just try to get, like, one percent better each week. Just one percent better. Whatever it's at. And if you can do that every week, well, then we have something."

Players still wear the wristbands.

“No matter what happened the day before you want to grow from it," Melson said. "Or if you’re having a bad day you want to grow.”

Bell gave a talk to the Oregon football team in 2009 that then coach Chip Kelly talked about during a press conference. Bell has also given talks to the Portland Trail Blazers. He started Coaches versus Cancer program that North Carolina coach Roy Williams is involved with, according to Bell. He said that he has had great conversations with Oregon coach Dana Altman, who has opened his door to all former players.  The Ducks face the Tar Heels in the second Final Four game on Saturday. 

That gives Bell connections to three of the four teams at the Final Four. It also sets up a possible conflict of emotional interest should Oregon and Gonzaga advance to Monday's championship game.

"I would be so conflicted," Bell said. "But it's like if your brother played against your alma mater you'd root for your brother. In so many ways I want it to happen, but in so many ways I don't."

Oregon basketball loses another player this offseason: Victor Bailey Jr.

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US Presswire

Oregon basketball loses another player this offseason: Victor Bailey Jr.

Oregon sophomore Victor Bailey Jr. is transferring, according to multiple reports. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 7.4 points, two rebounds and shot a team-best 39.8 percent from three-point range. He averaged 19.1 minutes with eight starts in 37 games last season, but his playing time faded off, only playing five minutes in Oregon's first two NCAA Tournament games. Bailey did not play vs. Virginia in the Sweet 16.

Bailey's departure marks Oregon's fifth open scholarship spot. The Ducks are still piecing their 2019 recruting class together, but will also need to replace senior Paul White, senior Ehab Amin, freshmen Bol Bol and Louis King (intend to remain in the NBA Draft). 

This comes on the heel of Oregon missing out on two top recruiting targets: five-star point guard Cole Anthony and four-star guard Cassius Stanley. 

Anthony committed to North Carolina live on ESPN, he had Oregon in his final four. Anthony was the MVP of both McDonald's and Jordan Brand Classic, and had a strong showing at the Nike Hoop Summit.

Cassius Stanley committed to Duke on Monday. A commitment from Stanley and Anthony would have likely launched Oregon back into the discussion for a top-10 class nationally. Currently, Oregon’s 2019 class is ranked 12th nationally and third in the Pac-12 Conference. Here is where UO's 2019 recruiting class stands

Oregon surplus sale scheduled for May 4

Oregon surplus sale scheduled for May 4

Press release from GoDucks.com:

The University of Oregon athletic department will host an equipment Surplus Sale presented by Fanatics, on Saturday, May 4th at the Moshofsky Center next to Autzen Stadium. The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or until all product is sold. 

As an exclusive benefit, current University of Oregon season ticket holders and Duck Athletic Fund donors are eligible for priority access to the Surplus Sale and may start lining up at 7:30 a.m. with the sale starting at 9 a.m. A random line drawing will be held to determine which customers will enter first. All season ticket holders or donors with a surplus sale ticket in line by 8:00 a.m. will receive a priority line raffle ticket and entered into the random line drawing, which will determine the order of entry. Season ticket holders or donors may not lineup prior to 7:30 a.m. The priority access line will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the northwest doors of the Moshofsky Center near the Duck Store entrance.

General admission fans will be admitted at 10:30 a.m. As with the season ticket holders and donors, a random line drawing will be held to determine which customers will enter first. All fans in the general admission line by 9:30 a.m. will receive a general admission line raffle ticket and entered into a lottery, which will determine order of entry. General admission fans may not lineup prior to 8:30 a.m. at the southeast corner of the Moshofsky Center, facing Autzen Stadium.

The random line drawing process ensures that all fans who arrive prior to the listed deadline will have an equal chance of gaining the first entry.

Priority access tickets can be secured by season ticket holders and DAF donors by logging into their account HERE. The deadline to claim a priority access ticket is Wednesday, May 1st at 5 p.m. Each ticket will allow access for the season ticket holder or DAF donor plus one guest. Passes will be available on the season ticket holder online account manager system beginning Thursday, May 2nd for those requesting ticket by the deadline. Tickets must be printed out before arriving.

Season ticket holders and donors who claim a ticket may forward the PDF to another party should they not be able to attend. Only one entry will be allowed per ticket and no re-entry will be permitted. The guest must be present in line with the season ticket holder when the priority tickets are scanned and priority raffle tickets are issued. If the guest is not in line at the time priority raffle tickets are being issued, they will not receive a ticket and will be sent to the GA line for entry. The guest will enter with the recipient of the priority access ticket.

Additional Surplus Sale Rules and Information

- Cash, Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted. Checks and American Express are not accepted. Please have ID ready if paying by credit card.

- A strict limit of 2 non-cleated (training) shoes can be purchased per patron.

- Camping is strictly prohibited and is of no benefit due to the random line drawing. Campers will be asked to leave and are subject to no entry to the sale.

- Only small personal purses will be permitted inside the sale. Bags will be provided for shopping.

- Parking is available in the east gravel lot of Autzen Stadium. Vehicles parked in other lots are subject to ticketing and/or towing.

- Shoplifters will be detained by UOPD on site.

- Hoarding of items is prohibited. Only take product from tables you intend to purchase. Those found hording items will be asked to leave.

- Raffle line tickets will be used for entry into the sale and may not be transferred to others.

- Individuals with raffle line tickets will be admitted in the drawn order before those without tickets.

- All individuals age 16 or above must have a ticket for entry.

- No food or beverage will be permitted inside the Moshofsky Center.

- All sales are final, no returns or exchanges.

[Official] Oregon basketball whiffs on Cassius Stanley; Where the Ducks stand

[Official] Oregon basketball whiffs on Cassius Stanley; Where the Ducks stand

Oregon basketball is still piecing its 2019 recruiting class together.

The Ducks whiffed on Cassius Stanley, who committed to Duke. The No. 29 player in the country is ranked No. 3 among combo guards, according to 247 Sports. Oregon was heavily pursuing Stanley, who originally narrowed his top three schools to UO, Kansas and UCLA, ahead of his visit to Duke last weekend, when he added the Blue Devils to the finalist list. 

During his announcement, Stanley praised Oregon as an “up and coming program” with “elite coaches” before selecting Duke.

A commitment from Stanley and consensus five-star combo guard Cole Anthony, would have likely launched Oregon back into the discussion for a top-10 class nationally.

Anthony is expected to make his college decision tomorrow. He’s narrowed the choices to North Carolina, Oregon, Georgetown and Notre Dame.

Oregon defensive lineman and the nation’s top football 2019 recruit, Kayvon Thibodeaux made his feelings known on Twitter.

Currently, Oregon’s 2019 class is ranked 12th nationally and third in the Pac-12 Conference after landing a big verbal commitment from transfer guard on Saturday.

After visiting Eugene for the Oregon spring football game, Duquesne sophomore guard Eric Williams, Jr. announced on Twitter that he committed to the Ducks will enroll at Oregon for next basketball season.

6-foot-6 Williams, who averaged 14 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season, will sit out the 2019-20 basketball season and then be a redshirt junior for the 2020-21 season.

The Ducks have also landed commitments from junior college national player of the year candidate Chris Duarte and consensus four-star big man Isaac Johnson, who is expected to take a two-year LDS mission and won't be back in Eugene until 2021. Rounding out Oregon's 2019 class is two 6-foot-8, four-star prospects CJ Walker and Chandler Lawson. 

Meet the Ducks' latest basketball recruiter: Oregon WR Mycah Pittman

Meet the Ducks' latest basketball recruiter: Oregon WR Mycah Pittman

Oregon men's basketball is trying to land one of the nation's top high school athletes, four-star shooting guard Cassius Stanley.

Coach Dana Altman should thank Oregon freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman, who is already fighing for a starting spot, for doing a little recruiting on Stanley's Instagram. Pittman wrote a simple "Sco (Ducks)" comment. 

Kansas, Oregon, and UCLA were originally Stanley’s top three schools. Ahead of his visit to Duke last weekend, he added the Blue Devils to the finalist list. 

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard out of Sierra Canyon High School (Los Angeles, California) will commit today at 12:30 p.m.. 247 Sports ranks Stanley as the No. 29 player in the country, No. 3 among combo guards and No. 3 in California. 

2019 Oregon spring football game provides fans a lot to “Shout!” about

2019 Oregon spring football game provides fans a lot to “Shout!” about

There was something different about the 2019 Oregon spring football game.

The spring scrimmage finale provided the expected excitement about the potential of next season and appreciation for the United States military. However, Coach Mario Cristobal laid out the red carpet and invites to elevate the usual big alumni weekend to “something bigger."

“So important for our players to learn more about our past,” Cristobal said. “To grow as a football team understanding that for us, upholding the legacy requires a lot and seeing (alumni) face-to-face and eye-to-eye.”

The support for the present squad was insane; surrounded by former Ducks and future Ducks alike. The Autzen Stadium sideline was bursting with Oregon legends and chockfull of a deep collection of talented recruits.

In front of Pro Football Hall of Fame member Dan Fouts, Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, the nation’s top quarterback recruit D.J. Uiagalelei, Mighty Oregon (first team offense/second team defense) beat the Fighting Ducks (second team offense/first team defense), 20-13.

It’s a good sign when the only moment of contention came at the end of the third quarter when the sound system experienced major difficulties during the “Shout!” song and dance; fans could barely hear the Autzen Stadium tradition and made their displeasure known. But that doesn’t mean the 35,100 fans in attendance weren’t electrified by what they saw.

Quarterback Justin Herbert is still elite, throwing a pair of touchdown passes and making zero errors. However, back-up quarterback Tyler Shough stole the show. Oregon fans can breathe easy knowing the Ducks have a reliable backup quarterback. After not attempting a pass last season, the redshirt freshman made effective short throws and looked poised with quick decision making. He’s added 10 pounds of muscle and is looking every bit the fit of a Pac-12 starting quarterback.

"It definitely felt good,” said Shough. “At this point, it's just executing the game plan and executing the plays and having fun out there. I know we have good players around me so just feeding them the ball the best I can."
Shough finished with 178 receiving yards on 18-of-31 passing with one interception and 12 rushing yards.

The battle to replace former leading receiver Dillon Mitchell’s production was on full display and it appears Herbert will have plenty of offensive weapons in 2019. With large-and-in-charge graduate transfer Juwan Johnson, freshmen Mycah Pittman and Josh Delgado plus improved veterans Jaylon Redd, Brenden Schooler and Johnny Johnson III, Oregon’s wide receiver room is deep.

After an up-and-down 2018 season, Schooler showcased his development with the highlight catch of the day; a 26-yard sideline fade grab with Thomas Graham draped all over him. Pittman led all receivers with seven receptions. Johnson snagged three catches, one for a touchdown. His 6-foot-4, 230-pound size advantage will be a constant goal line threat.

Maybe the best news? Zero dropped passes from the wide receivers. Although, a few catchable balls hit the turf from Oregon’s tight ends.

According to Cristobal, Oregon running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio has earned a larger role in 2019. Habibi-Likio had 12 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 24 yards.

The defense showed they haven’t missed a beat under new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. La’Mar Winston Jr. looks to be the top candidate to play Avalos’ “STUD” position. It’s clear Kayvon Thibodeaux will make an instant impact. The nation’s top recruit generated consistent pressure and recorded a sack.

“The best part about it is his expectation for himself is as big or bigger as we have for him,” Cristobal said. “I don’t want to be a cliché guy, but he’s got a five-star heart and five-star talent.”

Of the 10 early enrollees of UO’s 2019 recruiting class, four are defensive players and Thibodeaux wasn’t the only one to shine in the spring game. Cornerback Mykael Wright led the team with five tackles, three pass break-ups and a game-sealing interception in the end zone.

UO now enters its offseason strength and conditioning program while the coaches hit the recruiting trail.  On a beautiful spring day and the blooming of a spring tradition that puts emphasis on alumni and legacy, it was a good day to be a Duck.

Rapid Reaction: Quick takeaways from the Oregon spring game

Rapid Reaction: Quick takeaways from the Oregon spring game

A few quick takeaways from the Oregon spring game:

Mighty Oregon defeated the Fighting Ducks, 20-13.

- Tyler Shough has all the tools to become a Pac-12 level starting quarterback. Oregon fans can breathe easy knowing the Ducks have a reliable backup quarterback. The redshirt freshman made effective short throws and looked poised. Yes, it was only a spring game versus the second team defense but I was impressed with his decision making and sharp arm, plus adding 10 pounds of muscle with a better grasp on the playbook doesn’t hurt either.

- Improved dropped passes from the wide receivers. After an up and down 2018 season, Johnny Johnson III and Brenden Schooler showcased their development, confidence and held on the ball.

- Justin Herbert is still elite. He had a pair of touchdown passes and made zero errors.

- Kayvon Thibodeaux is going to make an instant impact. He generated consistent pressure and had a sack.

Oregon spring game: Be the fan in the know

Oregon spring game: Be the fan in the know

Do you want to be the Duck football fan in the know for the Oregon spring football game? I've got you covered. 

Saturday will be a great opportunity to see ten early enrollees from Oregon’s highest-ever rated recruiting class, plus fresh face Penn State graduate transfer wide receiver Juwan Johnson! Watch the video about for what you should be watching for. 

The roster will be split into two teams instead of the offense vs. defense format from a year ago. Rosters for the “Mighty Oregon” squad and the “Fighting Ducks” team will be unveiled soon. 

More details:

  • Admission is free.
  • Fans are asked to bring three non-perishable food items for donation to Food for Lane County. 
  • Oregon legends and Pro Football Hall of Fame members Gary Zimmerman (OL, 1980-83) and Dan Fouts (QB, 1970-72) will represent the two teams during the coin toss.
  • Fans are encouraged to arrive early and carpool as much as possible. The Autzen Stadium East parking lot will open to the public at 11:30 a.m. at a cost of $5 per vehicle.
  • Starting at 1 p.m. there will be an Easter egg hunt for children on the HDC practice fields. Fans should enter through the north gate that is closest to Martin Luther King Boulevard.
  • The men’s basketball program will be signing autographs inside Autzen Stadium on the concourse starting at 1 p.m. Commemorative autograph cards will be provided.
  • Flyover by F-15s from Oregon National Guard during the national anthem.

Meet Mycah Pittman, the Oregon freshman with "fire in his belly"

Meet Mycah Pittman, the Oregon freshman with "fire in his belly"

How can Oregon make the most of quarterback Justin Herbert’s final season as a Duck? One fresh-faced Duck receiver is working on going from starstruck to filling big shoes. As one of the highest rated receivers to sign with Oregon, freshman Mycah Pittman has made his presence felt and is already impacting the Duck offense.

The battle to replace former leading receiver Dillon Mitchell’s production (75 receptions for 1,184 yards) will be on full display Saturday in Eugene at the Oregon football spring game.

Pittman, a consensus four-star recruit and top three wide receiver from California, has been playing in the slot during spring practices with his eye on expanding his role. His speed is a major asset but his strong hands have impressed teammates and coaches.

“He’s got that swagger, he knows who he is, his potential, but he can ball too,” Jevon Holland said. “He’s resilient and he’s got fire in his belly. He’s got a lot of what we need in the receiver position and on the team, period. Especially from a young guy to push the older guys.”

Dropped passes aren’t an issue for Pittman. “Yea, you will rarely see me drop a pass,” Pittman said before correcting himself. “You wont see that. Let’s leave it at that.

“I never double catch the ball, I’ll make sure I stay after practice if I need to get it right,” Pittman said after Tuesday’s practice.  

Every day for two months, Pittman spent his hands deep in a bucket of rice, an “old school workout” exercising his hands to increase strength and grip.

Pittman already has a grasp on more than 90 percent of Oregon’s playbook. He enrolled early to get a head start on executing alignments, routes and developing a connection with Herbert. March 29 was his first day, but his Oregon career started long before that. Before and after high school, Pittman hit the books to study Oregon’s offense for a total of three hours a day. He took to the whiteboard to work on the X’s and O’s and used up five dry erase markers.

“I didn’t see any type of transition from him,” La’Mar Winston Jr. said. “He was ready to go from the first practice, first play, first catch. Strong hands, nice route runner.”

Pittman was in awe when describing catching passes from Herbert. “I caught my first pass on a little out route from Justin Herbert and I was like, ‘Yo, Justin Herbert just threw me the ball!’” Pittman said. “This is the No. 1 pick, I’ve seen this guy on TV, and he’s bigger in person. It’s pretty cool. He’s a very humble guy.”

His preparation and attention to detail has paid off. Within three weeks, Pittman has turned heads with flashy grabs from Herbert and backup quarterback Tyler Shough, elevated the play of the position group as a whole and developed a friendship with another newcomer who has already climbed the depth chart, Juwan Johnson.

Although new to the Oregon roster, Johnson has experience on his side, playing in 16 more games than the Ducks’ most veteran wide receiver, Brenden Schooler (21 games).

“He’s a great kid ultimately. He just wants to learn," said Johnson on his first impression of Pittman. “I sort of took him under my wing when he got here. He was sort of lost and eager to learn the plays. So we kind of picked up the plays together and did it that way. It was great for both of us, very beneficial. I had no idea his dad was Michael Pittman until last week.”

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound athlete from Calabasas High School has football in his blood. His father Michael Pittman was a productive NFL running back for a decade and won a Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mycah lived in Florida for 10 years.

When it comes to drawbacks of the freshman, the Ducks don’t have much to say. Although, Pittman says cherry jelly beans are a junk food weakness. Totally relatable.

The depth chart is open and Pittman is ready to fight for a starting spot.  He doesn’t feel pressure for Saturday, to play in Autzen Stadium with fans watching for the first time, “I am more excited when there are more people to see me."

Glimpse of life without Sabrina Ionescu: Oregon WBB lands the nation’s top guard, Sydney Parrish

Glimpse of life without Sabrina Ionescu: Oregon WBB lands the nation’s top guard, Sydney Parrish

The future is so bright for Oregon women’s basketball, you might need to wear shades.

Okay that was a lame, overused pun.

Fresh off a Final Four run, the Oregon women’s basketball program has elevated it’s standard, discarded its “newbie” title among the nation’s elite and landed the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect and the No. 1 guard in the class of 2020, according to ESPNW.

Indiana-native Sydney Parrish committed to Oregon over Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee and UCLA. The 6-foot-2 athlete is the first five-star prospect to commit to Oregon since Satou Sabally in the class of 2017 and the highest rated recruit to commit to Oregon since Sabrina Ionescu (No. 4 overall in 2016).

The Ducks are looking more like a perennial national contender by the minute. Expected to be the top-rated preseason team in 2019-20, Oregon returns most of its team including rising stars Sabally, Erin Boley, Nyara Sabally and a very-determined Sabrina Ionescu, who opted to stay at Oregon with one more accolade in mind; a national championship.

However, the Wooden Award winning Ionescu has only one year of eligibility left. As irreplaceable as the triple-double queen is, Parrish has all the tools to pick up and lead the Ducks when Ionescu turns pro.

"We're building something here in Eugene," Ionescu said in her Players Tribune letter. "We're building something — together — that's going to last for a long time after we've all graduated."

As a junior, Parrish averaged 21 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game, leading Hamilton Southeastern School (Indiana) to its first-ever state championship and earning the Gatorade State Player of the Year award.

The elite guard is Oregon’s first verbal commitment for the 2020 class and Parrish plans on being an active recruiter for the Ducks.

She’s a skilled and versatile sharpshooter that clicked with coach Kelly Graves immediately.

“It didn’t feel like any other visit,” Parrish said to Prospects Nation.  “I didn’t feel like the coaches were trying to sell me on anything.”

Parrish and her family were taking spring break in Florida when the Ducks made the Final Four in Tampa Bay earlier this month.  Her parents surprised her with tickets and Parrish was able to watch her future team.